The menu is in German, but the accent is English at Cecilienhof, the elegant castle where the World War II allies negotiated the postwar order in the summer of 1945.

Cecilienhof and its lovely gardens were off limits for most western visitors during the four decades that followed the creation of communist East Germany in 1949.The unification of Germany on Oct. 3 returned Cecilienhof and many other tourist spots in eastern Germany long caught behind the Iron Curtain to western tourist routes.

"1991 will be a great travel year for Germany," said Volkmar Mair, chairman of Baedekers, Germany's most famous tour guide publishing company.

Cecilienhof is a perfect place for Americans to visit now that some of the traditional attractions in Berlin such as Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall have become part of history.

The castle, built from 1913-1917 for the Kaiser's family in the style of an English country house, overlooks a lake amid a gentle wood 18 miles from the center of Berlin.

The historic room where Harry Truman, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and England's Winston Churchill negotiated the Potsdam Agreement on allied responsibilities in postwar Germany is now a museum.

Another part of the sprawling wooden-and-stone castle has been converted into a hotel with rooms ranging from $90 for a single to the opulent Ceciliensuite at $620 a night.

The restaurant offers diners a view of the gardens, and the menu features three-course meals with German specialties and Rhine wines.

For those Americans who still feel far from home, a plaque from a visiting Lions Club delegation hangs on the hotel wall, and English books line the shelves of the imperial library.

Visitors may find the area surrounding the castle exotic.

Big concrete panels of the Berlin Wall still border the grounds, and outside the gates it is common to see Soviet soldiers in uniform riding in military trucks around the city of Potsdam.

It used to be very hard for individual tourists to travel in East Germany where the communist government encouraged group travel.

Now Avis and Hertz have opened car rental offices throughout eastern Germany, making it easy to travel around the region that is the size of the state of Tennessee.

The Reichsbahn, eastern Germany's rail system, is also a bargain with ticket prices below those on the Bundesbahn, the western German train system.

From Potsdam it is just a short 55-mile drive to Wittenberg, where Martin Luther launched the revolution that split the Roman Catholic Church.

Wittenberg has kept much of its old world charm, and like much of eastern Germany, its prices have yet to reach those in wealthy western Germany, making it a bargain for American visitors.

Some residents have opened up an extra room in their homes for tourists with prices far below those in hotels and comfort that often rivals commercial accomodation.

Some 30 miles south of Wittenberg on a bend in the Elbe river rests Torgau, a town once home to the Saxon crown princes.

But Torgau also became famous as the spot where Soviet and American soldiers linked up, closing the allied fronts on April 25, 1945, just two weeks before the end of the war.

Sixty miles to the southeast the visitor arrives in Dresden.

Known as the Florence on the Elbe, the city's reputation rests on the Baroque buildings built during the Renaissance and the later the 19th century Semper Opera.

Allied bombers delivered some of their most destructive payloads on Dresden throughout the night of Feb. 13, 1945. British and American planes devastated much of the city.

At least 35,000 people are believed to have died in the inferno, but the actual death toll has never been officially established, and some estimates put the number several times higher.

Sixty miles to the west is Goethe's adopted town of Weimar, and just outside the city the remains of the Buchenwald concentration camp where some 56,000 people died.

Photographs made by Margaret Bourke-White at the camp of skeletal survivors brought home the horror of Nazi terror and remain powerful documents of the destruction of human lives.

The German Tourist Board will provide brochures and maps in English for visitors.

Despite the collapse of the Iron Curtain, Americans have yet to begin exploring the five new German states that make up what was East Germany.

According to the German Tourist Board, nearly 95 per cent of the 1.2 million visitors to former East Germany in 1990 were Europeans, with the rest coming from other countries, including the U.S.